Die Linke’s Christine Buchholz joined our No War on Ukraine Rally. Here’s what she had to say…

Christine Buchholz

It is good to see you all and to send out a strong joined international message against war.

The Russian troop build-up on the Ukrainian border is not the starting point of the current escalation.

The USA’s ambition to expand NATO to the east was combined with the EU’s hopes to expand its own sphere of power. After the Cold War, NATO, whose existence had always been justified by the threat of an invasion from the East, remained in place. Since the victory in the Cold War, there has been a step-by-step redivision in Europe. NATO exploited the weakness of its Russian rival to advance eastwards into its former sphere of influence.

In 1997, the NATO-Russia Basic Act was concluded. According to it, both sides strived for a mutual relationship of trust in order to create a “common space of security and stability”. Translated, this meant Russia’s recognition of the repartition of Eastern Europe;

in return, NATO promised not to take any further unilateral steps that would harm Russia’s geostrategic interests.

This promise included the agreement that there should be no substantial deployment of troops from other NATO countries or of nuclear missiles in the new Eastern European NATO countries. In the capitalist world order, however, interstate competition cannot be permanently contained by treaties and declarations of intent. Moscow accepted the fact that the three Baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined NATO in 2004.

Open conflict arose over economic and geopolitical interests in Ukraine. However, this former Soviet republic has enormous economic potential. Moreover, it is strategically important as the northern riparian state of the Black Sea.

In 2013, the EU presented the Ukrainian government with an association agreement that required the cutting of economic ties to Russia. This was bound to cause a rift in Ukraine, whose economy was closely intertwined with EU-Europe and Russia alike.

After years of military advances further and further east, the West used its economic strength to push Russian interests out of Ukraine as well. Moscow reacted militarily, annexed the Crimean Peninsula in March 2014 and has since supported secessionist efforts in the east of the country.

The economic competition between West and East has turned into military competition. A new arms race was the result. Both sides were demonstrating strength and provoking each other with a level of military activity not seen since the 1980s. This process has been pushed by NATO on a massive scale. For example, by building up NATO’s “rapid reaction force”, which can be mobilised at very short time.

In recent years, NATO has increased its troop deployment on the eastern flank, as well as its naval presence, and holds regular manoeuvres. The German government is seen as less warmongering than Johnson and Biden.  But Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s visit to Joe Biden also made it clear: Germany sees itself as part of the same threat set as the US, as NATO and also Boris Johnson.

At the moment, the government is still hesitant to send weapons to Ukraine. But the cabinet has just decided to send 350 soldiers to Lithuania as part of the Enhanced forward presence Battlegroups.

Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht said ‘we are thus strengthening our contribution to NATO’s eastern flank and sending a clear signal of determination to our allies’.

The rulers in Germany are interested in two things:

First, immediate economic interests – part of German capital wants cooperation with Russia and the Northstream.

Second, the others want cooperation with the USA and want to rely on US fracking gas instead of Russian.

This shows that Imperialism – the system of competition between capitalist states – has always involved struggles over essential resources. Not only necessary from an ecological point of view, the struggle against fossil capitalism and for a radical climate change is a crucial struggle we have to unite on internationally.

On the other hand, it is a central interest of German capital to increase its political and military weight. That is why there has been a massive rearmament in the last 30 years,

German soldiers have been sent to Afghanistan, Mali and to NATO’s eastern flank.

Germany’s military budget has been increased by more than 50% between 2014 and today. The red-green-yellow government now even wants to break the taboo and want to buy Killer drones.

The EU is not an alternative either. The EU is not a “peace power”. All the larger EU states are NATO members. EU states have military bases outside Europe, are waging wars outside Europe, are currently arming Ukraine, and much more. And we know about the geopolitical rivalry in which the USA, the West, the EU, but also China and Russia have their interests in mind and not the good of humanity.

The majority of people do not want war – not in Western Europe, not in Russia and not in Ukraine. We want to reach and mobilise these people. Following Karl Liebknecht, we say: The main enemy is in our own camp.

No war over Ukraine! No arms deliveries. No more NATO soldiers. No eastward expansion of NATO. We demand an end to foreign deployments of the Bundeswehr. No militarisation of the EU.

11 Feb 2022 by Christine Buchholz

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